The first phase, with 3, slot machines and electronic table games, opened on June 6, Retrieved 22 December Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. Rocky Gap, state's fourth casino, opens in Western Maryland. But the resort, which opened in , never gained traction as a destination, losing millions of dollars and struggling to pay off the debt owed to bondholders.
Built on the grounds of Rocky Gap State Park. First proposal was rejected due to failure by the developer to pay licensing fees. The Maryland Lottery subsequently lowered the casino tax rate for this location and allowed a second round of bids for new proposals, however, no developers submitted any bids. During the third round of bids, three developers submitted bids and licensing fees, two of which were rejected.
They were pressing up against the ropes. The casino is expected to breathe new life into what was a troubled state-owned resort that struggled to attract visitors and pay its bills.
Evitts Resort, a subsidiary of Minnesota-based Lakes Entertainment, acquired Rocky Gap last summer, for far less than the state paid to build it, promising to construct a casino there and upgrade the resort. The casino opened Wednesday with slot machines and 10 table games, including blackjack, roulette, craps, Mississippi stud poker and three-card poker.
Local business and political leaders — some of whom say they never gamble —hope the facility will boost tourism by drawing visitors to such nearby attractions as the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, which transports passengers using a vintage steam engine.
The casino owners "realize they need to make it a family destination," said Mike McKay, president of the Allegany County Board of County Commissioners. The key will be how long gamblers stick around and whether they leave the resort — which features a Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course.
Evitts has upgraded the property's lobby and renovated rooms. The resort is also building a new, slightly larger conference center it hopes to complete by November. But for those staying a few days, he said, they may want to eat at local restaurants in town" or visit tourist sites. Just said the casino's core market consists of people within an hour's drive, but "our outer core is certainly miles plus," a radius that encompasses Baltimore, Washington and Pittsburgh.
But the resort, which opened in , never gained traction as a destination, losing millions of dollars and struggling to pay off the debt owed to bondholders. They've been very good to the community. They've been hiring locals. But they've kept a natural feel for the lodge.